What is a specialty court? It’s a court that seeks a balance between efficiency, public safety, and compassion.
Reno Municipal Court (RMC) is the second largest municipal court in the state, having four judges. It is a high-volume, limited jurisdiction court of record that adjudicates criminal misdemeanor and traffic violations committed by adults within the City of Reno proper. Many of the court’s defendants suffer from both serious mental illnesses and substance abuse, referred to as co-occurring disorders. RMC operates two Adult Drug Courts addressing the substance abuse issues of offenders convicted primarily of DUI, domestic violence, drug offenses, and prostitution. These problem-solving courts operate within the RMC and have been in existence since 2001 and 2005 respectively.
The Co-Occurring Mental and Substance Abuse Disorders Court was added in 2010 to enhance the existing Adult Drug Courts at RMC. Annually, this court was designed to serve approximately 55 Washoe County residents. The goal was to help defendants with co-occurring disorders integrate services and fill a gap in services for those offenders charged with DUI or Domestic Violence. Referrals were made by anyone who identified a person with a substance abuse history or substance abuse problem. Clients must also have a criminal case pending at Reno Municipal Court. For more information about Reno’s specialty courts, contact Mary Baker at (775) 334-3092.
During 2010-2014, Join Together Northern Nevada worked with RMC to provide program evaluation services to the new Co-Occurring Mental and Substance Abuse Disorder Specialty Court. RMC implemented a formative evaluative process designed to put in place a continuous feedback loop that will allow for ongoing program adjustments based upon data-driven decisions. Benchmarks of such an evaluation process included targeted staff training, knowledge transfers, and follow-up. Feedback from clients was always critical.
To learn more about the evaluation work JTNN has done with Reno Municipal court, read our most recent report here at: COD Report Dec. 2014